A Son’s Wisdom

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
Creek 300x200

My son turned six last week. That’s him beside me and us beside the creek that runs by our house. The nearly identical clothing isn’t intentional, it just sort of happened. If you asked him, he’d say he was just trying to look like his daddy. But if you asked me, I’d say I was just trying to look like my son. We’re buds, my son and I. Father and son first, of course. He knows the rules of the house and is expected to follow them. Knows he’s supposed to keep his room clean and take his plate to the kitchen after dinner and that he’s allowed only an hour a day for his Nintendo DS. He doesn’t like those rules sometimes, and sometimes he’ll do his best to challenge me. But it isn’t often and it’s never for long and we’re always good in the end.

Last night after cake and ice cream, we sat on the porch and talked. Even now and though he’s not really aware of it, he’s beginning to understand the Way of Porch Sitting. It’s a lot of rocking and a lot of looking. A lot of saying “Yep” and “Mmm-hmm.” A lot of contented sighing. Also a lot of conversation. Six-year-olds know more about the world than you might think, and they’re not shy about their opinions. For instance. He talked about growing up—“I don’t feel older,” he said, “so maybe I was old before I was young. And maybe that’s good, because then I’ll be young when I’m old.” He talked about education, too—“I used to think school was stupid. Why do I have to learn stuff I already know? But now I think we need to learn new stuff and stuff we already learned too, because maybe we’ll forget.” There was talk of family—“Everyone should have a mommy and a daddy and a front porch to sit on.” And faith—“Know why God is so cool? He’s too big for the sky but He can still fit in my heart.” And philosophy—“I don’t think the Coyote will ever catch the Roadrunner, because if he does then the whole thing will be over. I think people want some stuff to be over, but they want other stuff to keep on.” We even talked about health care—“I like giving to people, but not when someone tells me to. And I don’t think anyone should tell us what to do but God. And you and Mommy.” There was talk about the past—“Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again. I don’t remember it, but I bet it was cool.” And the future—“Know what I want to be when I grow up? Awesome.”

All the while I sat there beside him, rocking and nodding and saying “Yep” and “Mmm-hmm.” And I was thinking to myself that there is a lot of me in that little boy, which I thought was a good thing. But there was also not a lot of me in him, which I thought was equally good. I’m going to be honest here, just between you and me. I worry. About him. I worry what sort of world he will grow up in. I worry about what sort of evils he will have to endure and what darkness awaits. I worry that the faith I’m trying so hard to instill within him will be tried and fail, much like his father’s faith once did. It’s hard to find a greater love than what a parent feels for his or her child. It’s hard to find a greater fear, too. I’ve lived through thirty-seven Easters and hope to live through many more. Some I remember. Many I can’t. But I know this—they mean more to me now that I’m a father. Try as I might, I can’s stop the wheels of time. They will turn and grind and click no matter what I do. My children will grow. They will hurt. They will fail. They will cry. Because the world is a hard place that isn’t getting softer. But I know that Easter means this world isn’t the end. It’s a stop, a layover on our way to a place with brighter skies and clearer views. “I love my house,” my son said before we went back inside. “But I can’t wait to see what Jesus built for me.” See why I want to be like him?

Picture and post by Billy Coffey